The United States is concerned by the Ecuadorian National Assembly’s passage last Friday of a Communications Law that could restrict freedom of the press and limit the ability of independent media to carry out its functions as a critical part of Ecuador’s democracy.
As recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed by the United States, Ecuador, and 32 other countries in the hemisphere, establishes freedom of expression as an essential component of representative democracy. Active, independent, and responsible media is critical for informing the public.
While it remains to be seen how the new Communications Law will be applied in practice, it is important in a democracy that laws not have a suppressive effect on free speech, narrow the space for fair and unbiased reporting, or lead to self-censorship by the independent media. In solidarity with the Ecuadorian people and government, as well as with other governments and stakeholders in the region committed to freedom of expression, we underline the importance of ensuring that the independent media is able to do its work without fear of reprisal or sanction. Respect for the fundamental freedoms of citizens – including freedom of expression and of the press – is critical in guaranteeing the vitality of this essential component of representative democracy.